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Cinema Paradiso

A celebration of youth, friendship, and the everlasting magic of the movies. 

Year: 1988 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 (Wide) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: It is expected that this film is fully subtitled. 
Directed by Giuseppe Tornatore 
Starring: Philippe Noiret, Enzo Cannavale, Antonella Attili  
An image from Cinema Paradiso

Earnest, nostalgic, and only a touch syrupy, there’s never a bad time to revisit Tornatore’s classic Cinema Paradiso: and in the one place where the film truly feels at home. Framed by a tired filmmaker’s return to the town of his youth, his childhood memories of falling in love with films and befriending the wise, elderly projectionist form the film’s most substantial scenes. Perhaps it is familiar stuff now, having seen directors like Steven Spielberg and Sam Mendes looking back to the analogue cinema dreams of their youth, but Tornatore’s sincerity remains unwaveringly heart-tugging today. It was this point that moved me particularly back in 2020 when we showed this last. I was a mere trainee - as the protagonist is, for much of the film - and we were two days from closing again for another lockdown, so to see the joy and artistry of projecting film prints to a rapt audience was a particularly special memory. The music deserves a special mention too. Though his name is synonymous with Leone’s spaghetti Westerns (including the timeless whistling that will fill our auditorium for our 50th anniversary!), Ennio Morricone amassed a diverse back catalogue of scores for films. Cinema Paradiso is perhaps the most iconic outside of those cowboys, vying with Once Upon a Time in America as my favourite. And that ending… whatever Babylon had you believe, montages really can convince you of the power of cinema - and romance, life, and everything in between. The final few minutes alone is worth the price of admission, but you are guaranteed to laugh and cry through its entirety as well.

Max King

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Screenings of this film:

1991/1992 Autumn Term (35mm)
1998/1999 Summer Term (35mm)
2020/2021 Autumn Term (digital)
2020/2021 Autumn Term (digital)
2023/2024 Autumn Term (35mm)
2023/2024 Autumn Term (35mm)